Recommendations on old tube amps?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by TheGeneral, May 18, 2002.

  1. I'm interested in buying a small tube amp (50-100W) for my low volume and small gigs for which my Aguilar rig is just way overkill in size and power. Some of the amps I have considered are the following:
    60s-70s fender Bassman or Bassman 50 heads
    Ampeg B-25 tube head
    Ampeg V4B 100 watt head

    I'm looking for something that has awesome tone. I won't even consider solid state amps since I already have one of those, and want something relatively light (no SVTs) and not too pricey. Who has some recommendations for me?
  2. Check out the Sovtek tube heads. They are suppose to be well made and have good tone.From what I hear their main drawback is they only make lower watt models i.e. 100w etc.Maybe they will do the trick for you? Not sure of the website(do a search on google or check ebay).

    Opps! Guess I neglected to see the word "old" in your original post,my friend.My apologies. You still may want to check out their amps though! :)

  3. AndyGL


    Nov 20, 2000
    Wellsville, NY
    My black face Dual Showman has 85 Watts via 4- 6L6's. It's relativly light, has great tone and packs a punch. It's much more usable in small gig situations then the 50 watt Bassmans. The're incredibly reliable too. I bought mine used in the late 60's, I use it quite often and all I've done is change the tubes. I hope I can say that about my Aguilar 359 in 30 years.
  4. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Old Tube Head w/ Tone = SUNN!

    I've got a '69 Sunn Sorado that sounds wonderful. Everything tubes should be (warm, smooth, etc.). 3 knobs! Volume, Bass, Treble. It is difficult to get a bad sound out of this head. Works great with guitar too! It is a bit heavy, but I will never sell this one. Sunn produced lots of similar amps with slightly different names and features. I see them on ebay for decent prices now and then.
  5. jondog,
    I have the same amp and love it. It's not just warm it's "meaty" and cuts through at the right frequencies. Right now it's waiting for an overhaul but once that's done it's a keeper for life.
  6. Usul,
    Thanks for the recommendation. The sovteks sound like a good possibility.
    Do you know anybody who currently sells Sovtek heads?
  7. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    I vote for the Ampeg V4B.
  8. bassclar7


    Apr 22, 2000
    Goodrich, MI
    I have an old Marshall JCM 800 bass series head. It's only 50w, but it can get loud if it has to. It's a great alternative to my SVT when the club is a little smaller than I'd like. I also have a Ampeg V-2 thats 60w, and it is great too. Both are good idea's.
  9. I vote for the Fender Dual Showman or a seventies Bassman 100.Both these heads sound really good for low-medium size gigs.I had a Bassman 100 with a 2-15"JBL speaker cab and it sounded great until we started playing large rooms,then it ran out of gas.I agree that the 50 watt bassmans don't have the juice to really work.
    The Ampeg V-4b also sounds great but is butt heavy.I tried a Sovtek 100w and it didn't sound bad at all either.
  10. Any of the above. I've got the B-25, V-4B, and Bassman 135 heads and like them all. The other half of the equation is the vintage speakers. The B-25B stack cooks.

  11. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    You should consider a Traynor Bassmaster or a Bassmanster MK-II. Both are well built tube amps that were made in Toronto during the 60's and 70'.
    The Bassmaster is 50 watts amd the Mk-II is 85 watts.
    I often see them on Ebay selling for very resonable prices and parts are still readily available for them.
  12. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Fender Bassman amps should be on the bottom of your list. They just don't have the punchy tone of Sunn or Ampeg.

    Sunns sound great and cost less than old Ampegs. Traynors are another good low-cost choice.

    Ampegs deliver the tone but will cost the most $$$$ as they are the most desirable of old tube bass amps.
  13. Thanks everybody for your input. I'll have to see what happens on the used market and ebay.
  14. I have an Ampeg SB-12 that sounds awsome. It starts distorting at about 12 o'clock, but at low volumes, I think it's the ideal sound. It's only about 23 watts, but it's definately worth checking out.
  15. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    A vintage B25B with original cab will give you great tone within your wattage preferences. I keep one in my studio these days for recording. Wonderful sounding amp, especially with an old Fender bass.